CREAT3D 3D printing tips: printing with colorFabb filament

Wednesday, 1 March 2017  |  Jon Brydges

3D printing with colorFabb nGen, HT and XT materials

With plastic extrusion (FFF/FDM) desktop 3D printers, the wealth of materials available for 3D printing is sometimes bewildering and growing by the day!

 

colorFabb, a leading manufacturer of 3D printing filaments has specifically developed a range of co-polyester materials with Eastman Chemical Company, to offer different functionalities and characteristics:

 

colorFabb nGen

colorFabb XT

colorFabb HT

 

We find these materials particularly well suited to our clients for engineering applications, due to the materials’ qualities, consistency and dimensional stability.

 

Read on to find out what these materials are all about and their differences.

 

What are colorFabb co-polyesters?

colorFabb teamed up with Eastman Chemical Company to develop a range of materials specifically designed for 3D printing, that deliver a range of qualities. These co-polyesters sit alongside colorFabb’s core filament of PLA / PHA (a PLA enhanced with PHA, Polyhydroxyalkanoate, that makes the material less brittle and improves layer adhesion).

 

In this blog, we focus on 3 types of colorFabb co-polyester filaments: nGen, XT and HT.

 

XT

colorFabb XT is made with Eastman Amphora™ AM1800 3D polymer. It is low-odour, styrene-free and BPA (Bisphenol A) free. It is high strength and high toughness, has a high TG/improved temperature resistance over PLA and is FDA food contact compliant.

 

nGen

colorFabb nGen filament is made with Eastman Amphora™ AM3300 3D polymer. It is a low-odour, styrene-free high quality 3D printing material. The chemical make-up of AM3300 also makes the material less sensitive to moisture, potentially better for outdoor uses. colorFabb nGen has good flow properties, a low processing temperature, good bridging capabilities and a higher glass transition temperature of 85°C.

 

HT

colorFabb HT filament is made with Eastman Amphora™ HT5300 3D polymer. It is a low-odour, styrene-free high quality 3D printing material. With a glass transition temperature of 100°C, colorFabb HT has a high temperature resistance, as well as excellent overhang ability, toughness and chemical resistance.

 

3D printing material comparison at a glance

Below is short comparison of key properties of colorFabb nGen, XT and HT.

 

colorFabb co-polyester 3D printing characteristics

 colorFabb materials

colorFabb XT

Amphora AM1800

colorFabb nGen

Amphora AM3300

colorFabb HT

Amphora HT5300

 Toughness

 

+++

++

++++

 Temperature resistance

 

++

+++

++++

 Glass transition  temperature

75°C

85°C

100°C

 Resistance to warping

 

++

++

+

 Ability to print  transparent parts

No

Yes

Yes

 Printing window

 

++

+++

++

 Printing skill required

 

Advanced

Basic

Advanced

 

In our experience, this is how we would use the different colorFabb materials in various applications:

 

General prototyping / model development: nGen

More functional prototyping: XT or HT

Parts for high temperature environments: HT

 

3D printing with colorFabb polyesters

nGen is our “go-to” material. It has excellent properties and uses print settings similar to PLA or PLA/PHA. It it best used with a heated bed and produces a good finish.

 

XT and HT require more advanced settings that need fine-tuning prior to and during printing, for example bed temperature, fan speed and flow rates, so the materials are best suited to more advanced users.   

 

Below is a summary of suggested printing guidelines for the materials. Remember these are not set in stone, and will vary depending on your printer, set-up and environment in which you print.

 

Variable

colorFabb XT

Amphora AM1800

colorFabb nGen

Amphora AM3300

colorFabb HT

Amphora HT5300

Printing tips

Nozzle Temperature

240°C to 260°C

220°C to 240°C

250°C to 285°C

Start at the lowest temperature range and work upwards

Heated Bed

60°C to 70°C

65°C to 85°C

100°C to 120°C

Apply appropriate adhesives to bed prior to printing

 

Flow rate

100% to 110%

90% to 104%

100% to 110%

HT and XT prints may benefit from a brim

Print speed

35 to 50 mm/sec

40 to 60 mm/sec

30 to 50 mm/sec

Think Tortoise & The Hare. Speed should be steady and slow, not a 100m sprint, for best quality

Cooling fan

Engage cooling at 100% between 3rd and 5th layer

Engage cooling at 60% after layer 4

0% to 50%

For best possible output, it is recommended to use as little cooling as possible

 

For XT and HT, don’t use too much cooling. Combined with low print temperature and high speed can result in layer delamination

 

For more info, check out our 3D printing tips blog on printing in colorFabb HT

 

And don’t forget to check out colorFabb’s tutorials on printing with the different materials at colorFabb Learn.

 

View full suite of colorFabb materials available at CREAT3D.

 

Best advice: right material for the right job

With so many variations of materials, different types of printers and even different types of 3D printing technology, there is no one size fits all solution. It all comes down to what you are trying to achieve, and that’s the best place to start with your decision in selecting the right material. You should analyse the particular properties you need from a print, and then look for the most relevant material, which will then determine the relevant printer type (or event print technology).

 

If you are looking for advice on which printer is going to deliver the best results for your needs, then contact the CREAT3D team and we can talk you through the options.

 

 

HT example print image provided by colorFabb. Design by Wouter Wolfs en Dennis van Bergen van der Grijp

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CREAT3D specialists in desktop 3D printing